The foundation of the Glashütte supply system, also known as "cottage industry", is laid as early as 1845, when Ferdinand Adolph Lange begins to teach his first apprentices. It is already evident at this point in time that his intention is to train not only watchmakers, but also independent suppliers.
Each student is assigned a particular aspect of the making of a watch. On completion of their training all students have the opportunity to become independent in their area of expertise and to work as a supplier in their own house. This serves as a basis for other companies to emerge, which produce frame components, balances and hands.
The production of components for the manufacture of precision watches presupposes the production of special work implements, devices, machines and measurement instruments. As a result, within a few years after the start of watch production in Glashütte the first workshops for tools and precision mechanics are founded.
Aesthetic aspects also play an increasingly important role in the years to come. The professions of engine turner ("guillocheur") and engraver become more and more important. The artistry of their craft contributes to the transformation of watches into unmistakably unique works.
The Glashütte cottage industry continues to grow until the beginning of the 20th century, to the point where a great number of buildings in the town house suppliers or watch companies. All of them contribute to the development of technical innovations, and watch production in Glashütte flourishes. Due to the high quality of their work, many companies supply their products not only to watchmakers in Glashütte but around the world.
With this exhibition the Foundation "German Watch Museum Glashütte – Nicolas G. Hayek“ honours 12 exemplary companies that have contributed in a significant way to the success of Glashütte. On display alongside specialist measurement instruments and workbenches are watch components, finished watches, personal documents and photographs.